The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Outtakes column
Jan 27, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Funding repairs to the state's only film studio, an aging facility that has been described as "an embarrassment," headlines the Hawaii Film Office budget proposal, with a $5.46 million request now before the Legislature.
But Donne Dawson,the state film commissioner, also wants lawmakers to approve $250,000 to identify sites and develop plans for a second film studio complex.
The current studio, which sits on 7.5 acres near Diamond Head, dates from 1975 and the original "Hawaii Five-0." Two significant renovations, including a 16,500-square-foot soundstage in 1994, greatly improved the facility, but there hasn't been enough funding to keep up with basic repairs and maintenance, which averages $130,000 a year.
When film officials asked for money last year, they warned lawmakers of "a tremendous health and safety risk to tenants" and a "dangerous condition" that could expose the state to legal action. In response, lawmakers approved only half of the money requested, about $1.7 million, which is being used to prioritize repairs.
Dawson called the current request reasonable.
"I am hopeful that the Legislature will agree with us that these are important upgrades and improvements that are necessary to provide a safe, functional facility for the industry and to protect the state's investment," she said.
Although the Diamond Head studio is a budget priority, Dawson said the state needs to look ahead.
"We need to look intensely at the possibility of another studio complex," she said. "That is not to say the state is going to take on another studio complex development on its own. It would be done in conjunction with the private sector, which has been looking at this for some time."
The studio is currently empty. ABC, which had been a steady tenant since it moved "Lost" onto the property in 2006, pulled the plug on "Last Resort," a drama about a submarine crew that aired its final episode Thursday.
CBS will be moving the new "Hawaii Five-0" to the site this summer.
By the way, film and TV production spending in Hawaii last year rose 36.6 percent, to about $246 million.
VAMPIRES aren't usually found in the tropics, so a recent Honolulu casting call for HBO's popular series "True Blood" probably stood out as unusual.
But there it was on Craigslist. The show, or so it appeared, needed nine actors/actresses for a sixth-season episode set to start shooting in three weeks.
It was a hoax.
"Totally bogus," HBO said. "Absolutely not true."
The ad encouraged people to send a resume and a photo to a gmail account. Inquiries received a response from Tracy Lerner of Talent Call, who asked: What decade were you born What age range would you be best able to play What's your gender She wanted a description of experience and a daytime phone number.
Honolulu acting coach Scott Rogers always warns his students to avoid the online ad site.
"Everything on Craigslist that has to do with the industry is a scam because nobody uses it," he said. "Nobody legitimate uses Craigslist to find actors. That's just not the way they do it."
A legitimate production -- especially an established show on a major cable or broadcast network -- isn't going to turn to Craigslist, said veteran casting director Rachel Sutton, who has cast more than 500 speaking parts for "Hawaii Five-0," "Last Resort" and "Lost."
Instead, it will work with the acting union, SAG-AFTRA, as well as local talent agencies to get the word out, she said.
On the few occasions she has used Craigslist, Sutton made sure to direct inquiries to her casting website. As an established casting director, her name carries credibility -- as would any established casting director with credits, Sutton said.
"That way it is double legitimized," she said. "You can't change something on my site unless you are me."
AND that's a wrap ...
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at honolulupulse.com. Reach him at 529-4803 or email email@example.com.
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